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Students Get Film Exposure Thanks To Festival

Nassau, Bahamas - Bahamian artists and future filmmakers will have the opportunity to become more exposed to the art form as the Bahamas International Film Festival prepares to make its debut.

Since the film productions "After the Sunset" and "Into the Blue" began filming in Nassau, the Bahamas has received recognition in the film industry, and BIFF is eager to ensure that young Bahamians are exposed to the field.

Leslie Vanderpool, executive director of BIFF, along with festival consultant Jon Fitzgerald, made the first steps in providing an "opportunity of a lifetime" for 10 students of the Government High School, two filmmakers from the New Providence Community Center and the Bahamas Film Commission. BIFF made it possible for the groups to visit the set of "After the Sunset".


The young future filmmakers got to see the super star cast, including Pierce Brosnan, Salma Hayek and Woody Harrelson, being directed by Director Bret Rattner and Producer Beau Flynn.

The cast and production team made a collaborative effort to "bring awareness to the youth of our nation", according to Ms. Vanderpool.

In a press statement released Wednesday, Ms. Vanderpool said: "The film industry in the Bahamas is stronger than ever, with the two movies being shot in Nassau, in addition to BIFF's introduction of a major international film festival."

She said Bahamians should not pass up these opportunities, which are great for the local economy. "BIFF would like to convey a message that the Bahamas welcomes the film community," she said.

"Not only is it important to highlight our pristine country, but it is also important to educate our local artists, and it gave me great pleasure to bring the students to the set and experience their excitement."

BIFF will premier in Nassau from December 9-12, 2004 and will feature a diverse presentation of independent and studio films from around the world as well as educational programmes and cultural events.

BIFF anticipates attracting high profile industry professionals, artists and festival attendees, providing a unique and sustainable venue for networking and business opportunities.

The Ministry of Tourism, BIFF's founding partner, and the official airline sponsor US Airways, and others, believe that a successful film festival will provide a new vista for tourism in the Bahamas, "by showcasing the beauty of our islands and our range of elegant and luxurious merchandise to an impressive number of celebrities and film industry professional who otherwise may not visit our shores", said Ms. Vanderpool.


Craig Woods, Bahamas Film Commissioner said: "We believe that it will allow us to build a bonafide film and television industry in the Bahamas that we all have been hoping for."

With an increased number of productions such as "After the Sunset" and "Into the Blue" filming in the Bahamas, Ms. Vanderpool believes that branding and international recognition of BIFF will germinate a wealth of opportunities for the Bahamas in the film industry and in the fields of arts, entertainment and the cultural life of the country as a whole.


"The educational efforts BIFF hopes to initiate will include interactive sessions conducted by accomplished artists in the film industry," explained Ms. Vanderpool.

Sessions will cover topics such as filmmaking techniques, acting, directing and screenwriting, and sessions will be available to emerging filmmakers as well as the general public.

Ms. Vanderpool said that the students' visit to a movie set was an example of what BIFF looks forward to offering at its inaugural film festival–"a one-on-one experience with the directors, producers and actors."

"Students were amazed that there were so many aspects that came together to create one film," she commented. "One student wanted to know the difference between a director and producer, where one could go to school for directing, and what the budget of the film was."

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